Merry Christmas from Montana!

Our hearts are full of gratitude and adoration because of the gift of Christmas and the triumphant power of Jesus Christ our Lord. Our Savior fit into a womb and then grew up and destroyed the tomb! With hearts full of living hope we wish you a merry Christmas!

Lusko Christmas Card
(click the image to view our digital Christmas card)

And just so you know the entire Fresh Life Christmas worship experience will be streaming from beginning to end starting over every two hours. Click here to check it out.


Two Years of Hope

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Two years ago today I woke up in a home with five beautiful girls sleeping soundly in their beds. My wife and my four little daughters. Alivia and Clover shared a room, as did Lenya and Daisy. All of us in neat little couplets. Happy.

For 24 months full of difficult days we have fallen asleep as a family of five. The symmetry in our lives has been thrown off kilter. One of our little saplings has been transplanted from our nursery to the wild forest above.

On this two year mark my heart is filled with a tremendous sense of gratitude. I am thankful that I was given the honor of being Lenya’s dad. I felt her kick inside her mom’s tummy and chose her name. I was there when she was born and have loved her fiercely every day since. Being a father to daughters is the best job I ever had.

I am thankful for the way her move to Heaven has lightened my touch on this earth. I am thankful for every tear that has fallen and every sigh that has escaped my lips – for each one has been answered with strength from on high. As a family we bear a scar that will never go away, but we brandish it as proof of sustaining grace.

The name of the game the first year was survival. We did all we could to keep moving so as to not fall asleep and die in the snow. It wasn’t pretty but we made it. The second year I spent most of my free time writing. I feared that the lessons learned in the crucible of great pain might have been written in evaporating ink – if they weren’t preserved they would be lost. So I wrote like the devil was chasing me. Through the Eyes of a Lion is the result and I cannot wait for people to read it.

What awaits the Lusko family around the next river bend? Laughter and pain. Pleasure and sadness. Weeping and worship. Family day on Fridays. Lots of coffee. Preaching the Word. A generation called out to strength and honor. Jesus will build His church. All with a void, a conspicuous absence that keeps our thoughts tethered to our homeland, and eventually … we will be reunited with Lenya Lion in paradise.


Would you like to intern at Fresh Life?

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We are super excited to announce that for the first time we are offering internships at Fresh Life. If your heart resonates with what God is doing in and through our church in the state of Montana and beyond and feel an irresistible call to the wild you should apply. There are several different tracks available but we are keeping the spaces limited so it stays small, agile and doesn’t become unwieldy.

Who knows what adventures await you… Will you wrestle grizzly bears? Meet your future spouse? Become incredibly addicted to huckleberries? Help us drive the devil out of Montana? There are no guarantees except that it is not for the faint of heart and you will get out of it what you put into it. Also it is guaranteed that you will be cold. How cold exactly? So cold that cows die. They just drop over, frozen solid.

Full disclosure: this is our first time doing anything like this so there will be kinks we haven’t worked out that we will discover along the way. If your feathers are easily ruffled and you need everything to be dotted and crossed perfectly maybe you should wait for a future season to take part. On the other hand maybe we will hate it and never ever offer any thing like it again. This could be your one and only opportunity to be a Fresh Life intern.

Tons of info and applications here, the deadline to apply is January 1st. Good luck!


700 days in Heaven

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Today is November 20, 2014. Exactly 23 months ago today my daughter Lenya left this world and went to be with Jesus. From that Thursday to this one it has been 100 weeks. She has been in Heaven for 700 days.

I think often about what age she will be when I see her next. How old will I be when I leave this world? What age are people in Heaven? Seeing the movie Interstellar has recently had me thinking about whether time in eternity passes differently than here below. In the film traveling through worm holes to a distant planet causes astronauts to only age an hour for every seven years back home.

While watching emotional scenes in the film where the ramifications of the relativity of time are realized I thought about how the Bible says that, “to the Lord a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day.” And I daydreamed about Heaven’s time.

Could it be that Lenya has already lived ten lifetimes full of bliss? Will I arrive in Heaven only moments after her? I don’t know. I am eager to hear from her about her experience–whatever and however much that may be.

Waking up 700 different mornings on a planet without her has been the greatest burden I have ever carried, but along with that has come the strength to keep soldiering on. I am so thankful for her and exceedingly grateful for the way God has used her relocation to Heaven to keep my thoughts and hearts buoyed to my true Homeland.

There have been 100 weeks of heartache, and 100 weeks of joy unspeakable. God has taught me to run with a limp and sustained me with power from on high.

Isaiah 46:4 I will continue to carry you even when you are old. I will take good care of you even when your hair is gray. I have made you. And I will carry you. I will take care of you. And I will save you. I am the LORD.


2015 SoCal O2 Experience

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I am super excited to announce that we will be kicking 2015 off with a Southern California O2 experience tour! We will be hitting Santa Barbara, the Los Angeles area, and San Diego for the first time as well as returning to the Inland Empire and Orange County with a fresh look at life, death, sex and romance in January and February.  If you or your church would like to get dialed in and be a part of these events visit O2experience.com. I hope to see you there! There are also promo pages for each city where you can download social media invites and all kinds of stuff.


Exciting announcement about my book

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On Lenya Lion’s birthday back in September I shared the news that I had written a book in her honor. Last week I had the opportunity to travel to the Thomas Nelson headquarters and officially announce the title and share the heart behind it at the company’s national sales gathering.

The book is called Through the Eyes of a Lion. It is about how seeing life through the lens of faith will allow you to see the wild calling that is on your life and enable you to go through things that would be otherwise impossible. The book will definitely be helpful for hurting people but I didn’t write it to be a manual for grieving, but as a manifesto for a whole new high-octane way of living. It’s not a book about death, it’s about life.

It has been tremendously exciting for me to work on this project for the last year and while it has been one of the most difficult things I have ever done, it has been thrilling at the same time. I am really excited for this message to be set free. It gives me great joy to think of God continuing to use my daughter’s life and story to bless people.

Right now I am in the midst of the editing phase. The manuscript is being bounced back and forth between me and two different editors and being fine-tuned and tweaked along the way. I thought I would have a hard time with the editing process…but it has actually opened my eyes to see weaknesses I didn’t know were there and I am so happy with how much better the material is for it–even though a few paragraphs I worked really hard on have hit the cutting room floor grrrr! Something I have been keeping in mind along the way is that the process is the product.

The book is set to release on Tuesday, August 4th and I will be updating you as the process continues to move forward.


Happy Birthday Billy Graham

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this is Billy Graham preaching at Madison Square Garden in 1957

Today Billy Graham turns 96 years old! I am so thankful for this humble, bold and powerful man of God who traveled the world preaching on the salvation that can be found through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. His entire life he has unswervingly pointed to the cross with his every breath. His faithfulness and integrity are an amazing example. What a hero. Happy Birthday to Billy Graham–the greatest of all time!


Skull Church in Great Falls, Montana

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The final stop on our tour was Great Falls, Montana. The city is located along the banks of the mighty Missouri river, the longest river in North America. This impressive body of water flows from Montana to Missouri passing through ten states and two Canadian provinces on the way.

There are a series of five waterfalls on the river and each one has a hydroelectric that generates power, earning Great Falls the nickname “The Electric City.” The history of the city goes back to the Blackfoot Indian tribe long before the United States existed. During the Lewis and Clark expedition began and the Louisiana purchase was being explored Meriwether Lewis was the first white person to set foot in the area that would be known as Great Falls.

The city is also home to Malstrom Air Force Base and the countries largest nuclear arsenal. Thera are 200 minuteman III nuclear missiles in silos all over the area that can hit targets up to 7,000 miles away should the President give the order. I had the chance to visit the base and was filled with gratitude for all the men and women who serve our nation. It broke my heart to hear that Maelstrom has the highest suicide rate of any Air Force Base in the country. We specifically targeted the base as we prepared for the event and made it our aim to make sure everyone there was invited.

The Skull Church event took place in the Mansfield Theater in the Civic Center. It was a beautiful venue and a phenomenal place to worship Jesus and see people touched by His grace. This event was the punctuation mark to an amazing tour. Seeing hundreds and hundreds of people give their lives to God, during these two weeks was mind-blowing and I can’t wait until we get to go out and do it again.

Here is the Skull Church Great Falls lookbook:

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Skull Church in Butte, Montana

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The fourth stop on our tour was Butte, Montana. Just as you shouldn’t play favorites with your kids, I won’t show partiality to any of the cities we brought Skull Church to, but I will say that this event was a spiritual highlight of the tour. I had never set foot in Butte and didn’t know much about it before this fall, but while we were on the road I watched a documentary that PBS produced on the history of the town. It is fascinating and you can watch it on YouTube here.

In case you don’t have an hour to spare, here is the dime version: Butte was a mining boom-town. It was predominantly silver that was mined here until the advent of electricity–when they discovered that the ground was rich with copper that was increasingly in demand–and wires began to be strung from building to building from coast to coast. They could hardly dig the stuff out of the ground fast enough to keep up with the insatiable appetite for it. At one point copper from Butte was used around the nation more than from any other mine.

The population exploded as people from all over the world descended on the city. At one point the “no smoking” signs in the mines had to be printed in 16 different languages because the miners were so culturally diverse. The night life ran to keep up as well. The city was home to a booming red-light district with a brothel that is reportedly America’s “longest running house of prostitution.” At one point Butte was the largest city west of the Mississippi, a place prospering so much it was dubbed, “the richest hill on earth” and referred to as Butte, America. (As opposed to Butte, Montana because it was such a hip, cosmopolitan place)

All that came crashing down when mining was stuttered in 1982. The same year I was born the activity that gave the city its identity dissolved suddenly into thin air. Today Butte is a shadow of what it once was. Where there used to be 100,000 people living here, today the population is a third of that size. It is certainly no ghost town, but the evidence of different days gone by are everywhere you look and they say that it is shrinking faster than any city in the state.

We had the event at the historic and beautiful Motherlode, a theatre with a past as storied as the city itself. As the crowd arrived and I prepared to speak, I felt so much love welling up in my heart from the Lord. Speaking to one of the local pastors I heard that many young people crack that, “happiness is seeing Butte in your rearview mirror.” I felt such a sense of assignment as I preached to tell them that leaving this city might just be what they are supposed to do, but if they leave to fill a hole inside them they will bring their problems with them wherever they go.

I hope the Lord gives us the opportunity to return to Butte and do ministry again soon, because it was such a joy to watch people find something far better than silver or gold in a relationship with Jesus. Regardless of what is or isn’t happening in the city economically, in God’s heart, the glory days for the people who live there are not in the past but are yet to come.

Here is the Skull Church Butte lookbook:

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Skull Church in Boise, Idaho

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Our third stop on the tour was the capital of Idaho–Boise. This was the third state capital we have done an event in. (The other two being Helena and Denver) And the Egyptian Theater, where we had Skull Church, sat downtown just a few blocks away from the Idaho State Capitol Building. The Egyptian is this rad, super kitschy historic venue that was originally called the Fox but was garishly done over with over-the-top egyptian-swagger to commemorate the discovery of King Tut. It feels like you are on the movie set of The Mummy. Things to check off my bucket list: Preach under an enormous, golden scarab beetle.

I love Boise. In the last few years it has become one of my favorite cities to visit and I like it more each time I spend time in the city. From the downtown with a big-city feel and the University with it’s much loved Broncos stadium to the river that runs right through town and mountains within striking distance you have the perfect blend of urban and outdoors. There are killer restaurants, and a lot going on. From what I can tell, the people that call Boise home are laid back, easy going and not super high strung. In my estimation the quality of life is good in this gem of a city that comes across as much less imposing than a city of it’s size often does.

We saw God do a great work and many were impacted by the love of Jesus. I pray that all the churches that participated in the event will continue to grow and take new ground in this awesome city.

Here is the Skull Church Boise lookbook:

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